One of Australia’s many unique qualities is its reverse season cycle. While everyone else is dreaming of a white Christmas, the Aussies are cranking up the barbeque and putting on their bikinis. Everyone sets out on their summer vacations from December to February, and everyone knows to head north to warmer climates in the winter.
To give you a better idea of the country’s climate, Australia lies south of the Equator and is the second driest continent in the world, beaten only by Antarctica. Eighty percent of the land is arid or semi-arid, experiencing less than 600 millimeters of rainfall each year. Forty percent of this is considered uninhabitable desert. The people of the country mostly live in the coastal regions of the land, the south-east of which is the most densely populated.
Despite these facts, it is not to be mistaken that all of Australia sits forever in an endless summer. Australia is a large country. With a land area of 7.7 million square kilometers it is the sixth largest nation in the world, and therefore has quite varied climates. Far north, close to the Equator, are the tropics. Popular places here include Darwin, Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands. Temperatures up here tend to stay high throughout the year, usually around thirty degrees but sometimes reaching as high as forty degrees (Celsius). These regions are characterized by distinct wet seasons and are prone to thunder storms and tropical cyclones throughout the summer.
Down towards the centre and west of the country, the land gives way to desert. Here the summers have similarly hot temperatures, though the land is provided no relief from the cool rains of the tropics. Here droughts are more common, and therefore fewer towns have sprung up. Temperatures vary a little more here, especially towards the south of the desert, as the nights can get quite cold.
The coastal areas in the south, especially in the south-east, tend to have more definitive seasons. While summer temperatures can still reach the late thirties and droughts are not uncommon, winters here are colder, especially in Victoria and Tasmania, which are furthest from the Equator and closer to the Antarctic. Mountains around Canberra and in Southern New South Wales can become quite popular throughout the Winter as skiing destinations, though the mountains are the only parts of Australia that ever see snow. Most Australians go years without ever being exposed to snow, some never see it at all.
As well as being backwards in geographical climate, as mentioned Australian seasons are consequentially reversed. Summer starts in December and ends with the country’s hottest month, February. July tends to be the coldest month, right in the middle of the June to August Winter. Autumn and Spring are pleasant months, though both mostly on the warmer side throughout most of the country. And all of this is ideal, because when the cool northern hemisphere weather begins and the snow starts to set in, you can pack your bags and follow the sun south to join the Aussies for a beer and a barbeque!